Kevin Lee certainly doesn’t see a scenario where a matchup with Ben Askren would be all that competitive. Now that “The Motown Phenom” has had a taste of the welterweight division — and with plans to stay at 170-pounds — a fight between him and Askren is something that could be on the table.
With both fighters coming off of a loss, the matchup certainly makes sense. Sprinkle in some back-and-forth at the UFC 236 seasonal press conference and you have a storyline to build off of.
There may be one issue in play, however. Lee feels that a fight with Askren would not be much of a challenge.
“Ben is probably the easiest out of anybody,” Lee said while appearing on Submission Radio (h/t MMA Fighting). “He’s just too hittable and too one-dimensional. He had that little back and forth with me at the press conference talking about he took me down when I was 19 years old as if that meant something to anybody. He didn’t talk about the right hand I kept hitting him with right before that but that’s water under the bridge.”
Lee recently suffered his first setback as a UFC welterweight in the main event of May’s UFC Rochester event. After a strong start against Rafael dos Anjos, Lee was submitted via arm-triangle choke in the fourth round, dropping his second straight fight and three out of his last four.
Askren, on the other hand, suffered one of the most devastating knockouts in UFC history earlier this month at UFC 239 courtesy of a flying knee from Jorge Masvidal in a UFC record finish of five seconds.
The formula is certainly there: both guys in the same division, both coming off of losses, a little bit of history, the gift of gab in both fighters and more. Even with all of that in play, Lee doesn’t sound all that interested in a fight with Askren unless there’s a little more sizzle behind the matchup.
“He’s a big draw but he took a big hit with that one and he didn’t show that he can compete with a lot of the top guys, when you talk about five seconds,” Lee explained. “Five seconds! I’m gonna keep it real with you, there’s gotta be something in it for me. There’s no way that I can outdo a flying knee five-second KO. Every time I go into a fight, I want to do better than the guy who did last so I don’t know. There’s not a whole lot there for me.”
Would you want to see a welterweight showdown between Kevin Lee and Ben Askren?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/18/2019.